Say H E L L O to the first comprehensive job placement resource dedicated to ENGLISH teachers.
When I stepped into my first classroom, having completed my student teaching, received my credentials, and subbed, I had no idea about the realities of teaching high school English. In the intervening years, I’ve taught curriculum prescribed to me, I’ve had the freedom of creating my own classes and assessments from the ground up as a single person department, and experienced the fun of developing cross-curricular assessments and events with a teaching team. I’ve worked with colleagues who believe that grammar instruction is elitist, others who believe it’s the bedrock of a solid education, and a bunch of folks who believe it only makes sense to teach grammar in the context of writing instruction. All reflect different visions of what it means to be a teacher, and what it means to be a school. Simply, there’s a lot of variability in our discipline, and in English departments.
I entered the profession passionate about well-crafted stories. It's an indiscriminate passion for narrative which crosses genres, dips into journalism, history, graphic novels, speculative fiction, and an occasional zombie story. I love a good book, and believe literacy can be life changing. After 28 years in the classroom, however, I’ve come to believe that my job as an English teacher, more than anything, is to help kids make sense on paper—how we get there, what we read, and their choice of response genre matters less to me than that students develop a voice, can edit their work appropriately, and can recognize the internal logic of a piece. Whether that means embracing Annie Dillard’s language about first drafts with my seniors, or spending time with Freshmen describing rocks, or writing across genres in story chains with Juniors, my goal, ultimately, has been to inspire students to choose the right word, use their words to express themselves, and clarify their thinking as they moved out into the world. Though it’s not my primary focus, it's a thrill every time a Junior complains about how “whiny” Holden Caulfield is or when Seniors appreciate that Hamlet is also just trying to figure out his place in the world. The romance with literature which drew me to the profession is just a small part of what makes teaching English an advocation.
To do this well, we need teachers like you.
As educators, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our students to be happy, whole and professionally fulfilled. Whether you love the classics, or dream of staging Les Mis in your classroom, or thrive in inquiry-based learning, the important difference between a job and a career is landing in an environment where you will thrive. And that's what I'm here at the OESIS Network to help you find.
Best wishes from a fellow English teacher,
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT LEAD
Effective teaching requires an effective team.